Thursday, December 2, 2010

Marian "Magician" Gaborik Pulls Trick Out of His Hat in Rangers Crazy 6-5 Win

For the last couple of years the Rangers have had a revolving door with their lines, but maybe just maybe they found a line that works for Marian Gaborik as his two assistants Sean Avery and Erik Christensen would combine with Gaborik for 4 goals, 5 assists and a +8 on the evening.  The line would be the one to open the scoring and then would also break two ties during the game as they would not be denied showing excellent chemistry with each other and feel for where the other would be on the ice.  As impressive as the hat-trick and four point night were, Sean Avery was the player of the game for the Rangers in this one.  Avery did everything from using his speed, his toughness, his hockey smarts and his passing skills to dominate for the Rangers attack and make life at times easy for Gaborik.

If the Rangers are going to be a playoff team they need to take games like these against the Islanders who are an inferior team and end them early on.  For nearly the entire first period they looked poised to do just that as they dominated creating chances by working the forecheck and cycle game, skating well and for a change having a huge possession advantage.  All of those things led to a 2-0 lead late in the first at 19:11 Knopka would get his first on a scramble play in front of the net.  The late goals always hurt but this one changed the feel of a period the Rangers had dominated getting beautiful goals from Christensen and Callahan to one that they should have had more out of.  The Christensen goal would come off a cycle play that would end with Erik lifting the perfect shot over the shoulder of DiPietro.  On the Callahan goal, a tremendous play by Stepan to win the puck along the boards and the draw a penalty, but instead of settling for the power play Brandon Dubinsky would scoop up the puck and make a tremendous pass across the crease to a cutting Ryan Callahan for the finish.

For a good portion of the second period the Rangers played awful hockey as they were getting beaten to a lot of the pucks and got away from the way they play effectively.  The biggest problem for the team was they got an early power play which all too often functions as a momentum killer and not a scoring chance creator.  The Islanders would keep up the solid play until the Rangers had a defensive breakdown in which Dubinsky lost contact with his man, Matt Moulson and Moulson would go down the slot getting a pass from Tavares and beating Biron to tie it at 2.  Three minutes later the Islanders would score again as Rob Schremp would score from the point to give the Isles a 3-2 lead and end the night for Martin Biron as he was pulled for Henrik Lundqivst.

Lundqvist would have to come in basically from the crowd and after Jesse Joensu beat Michael Del Zotto for a chance that did not result in a shot the Rangers would dominate the rest of the period.  The Rangers after a good shift from the Fedotenko – Boyle – Prust line they would eventually get a shot from the point by Marc Staal that would be deflected by Brandon Prust before ping ponging off Rick DiPietro and Andy MacDonald into the net.  Just over three minutes later the Rangers again on the power play would actually make it work this time as Martinek failed to clear leaving Marian Gaborik with the puck and he would attempt to pass to Ryan Callahan on the doorstep, but Knopka would actually put it in his own net for a Gaborik goal at 16:24.  Shots after the goalie change were 7-1 Rangers. 

Going back to being a good team, now that the Rangers had let the Islanders hang in for two periods of action they needed to take control early on in the third.  The Rangers would do just that when after a brilliant shift by Sean Avery where he got the puck out of the defensive zone, got back in the play, stole the puck and then threw a beautiful backhand pass to Marian Gaborik in front for Gaborik’s second of the night and a 5-3 Rangers lead at 3:31. 

The Rangers would dominate play for most of the period until at 12:30 Michael Grabner would fight off a Dan Girardi check and deflect a Radek Martinek point shot to make it 5-4.  If that was not enough the Rangers would let the Islanders all the way back as Blake Comeau would score just 1:41after Grabner on a goal mouth scramble to make it 5-5.  Then because he would not be denied tonight Marian the magician would make a great play lifting the stick of James Wisnewski in front and then beating Rick DiPietro just 25 seconds after the Islanders tied it to put the Rangers back up 6-5, which is how it would end.  In the end the Rangers will certainly take the two points, but they will have to play  a lot better than this if they want to be a team that does anything this year.  The biggest positive as a team other than getting Gaborik and company going was the battle the team showed each time they coughed up the game in coming back to finally win it.
  • Dubinsky-Stepan-Callahan showed good things tonight as well
  • Brandon Prust is extremely underrated for all the things he does on the ice
  • Frolov for being "close" as Tortorella claimed was virtually invisible again
  • Someone needs to teach the Rangers defense especially Staal and Girardi how to clear the dang crease.